Gardener's Magazine 6: 427-428 (1830)

ART. XV. On the Culture of the Rosa odorata, the Sweet or Tea-scented Rose.
By Mr. J. ELLES, late of Longleat Gardens.


THE sweet-scented China rose, although universally admitted to be a most lovely flower, is still, generally speaking, not a common plant in our flower borders; and yet it may be propagated with the utmost possible facility, and, when planted out in the open border, it is nearly, if not quite, as hardy as the common China rose, which, during so many months in the year, decorates the cottage and the flower-garden, but, unfortunately, does not fill the air with that delicious perfume which is exhaled in such profusion from its more favoured congener the sweet-scented variety. To remedy this defect is the object of the present communication.

*Mr. John Parsons, Dilton's Marsh, Westbury.

I have before observed, that it is nearly, if not quite, as hardy, as the common China rose; and, I believe, most people consider the flower, independently of its fragrance, as more beautiful, if not so showy. But its growth, in favourable situations, almost exceeds credibility. I have seen upwards of two hundred flowers and flower-buds upon a single shoot; but that was a shoot as thick as my little finger; and this fine plant, too, under the management of a poor weaver, a man of great singleness of mind, an ardent lover of flowers, and, indeed, altogether, a most praiseworthy individual.* This extraordinary specimen, it is true, was budded and trained against his cottage; but no protection, save the eaves, was ever thought of: and thus it has continued, for many years, his pride and the wonder of his neighbours. I have one which has stood six winters with little or no protection.

In the spring of last year, I planted out about fifty plants of this rose: they grew and flowered tolerably well (Mr. Young of Epsom saw them); and, although the last winter was a severe one, every plant survived, and they are now flowering and growing as freely as the common China rose.

In April, we lost three plants through excessively wet weather; the subsoil being a blue clay, and very retentive, the bed was like a quagmire for weeks together.

The following mode of propagation is easy and expeditious:— Put a plant or two into the hot-house in January or February, and there will soon be some young shoots: as soon as they have three or four leaves, take them off, no matter how tender or succulent, but never remove or shorten a leaf. Having prepared your cuttings, put them into sand, with a glass over them, in the same heat as the plants, and in three weeks they will be ready to be potted off. Thus continue taking fresh cuttings, or topping the cuttings already struck, till there are as many as you want. I propagated upwards of 100 plants in one season, from a small plant which only afforded three cuttings at the commencement.

I have little doubt that hundreds of gardeners are acquainted with the above method, and, probably, have for years grown this rose in the same manner as I have recommended; but, as it has not been noticed in the Gardener's Magazine, perhaps its beauty, fragrance, and easy culture are not so generally known as it might be wished.

I am, Sir, &c.
London, April, 1829,              J. ELLES.

Prodigious Propagation